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Highcrest transformed into The House of Commons for schools debate
A SCHOOL was transformed into The House of Commons as Steve Baker MP acted as Speaker during a political debate between pupils.
Highcrest Academy became the ‘House of Wycombe Chamber’ for the debate between schoolchildren from Wycombe High, Sir William Ramsay, John Hampden Grammar, Wycombe Abbey, Cressex Community, St Michael’s Catholic and the Royal Grammar School.
They discussed motions including whether the HS2 project should be scrapped and if the UK should intervene in Syria at Thursday’s event.
Mr Baker organised the debate for pupils from years 10 and 11, as well as sixth form students, to ‘engage future electors with our democracy’.
The Wycombe MP said: “Both the sixth form pupils and years 10 and 11 made superb contributions to our Parliamentary-style debate.
"The depth and range of ideas was exemplary and pupils brilliantly grasped the process and style of the debate. We can be justly proud of pupils from all our local schools.
"Everyone who spoke should be confident that they are well-equipped to face life’s communication challenges. I believe students also learned something of Parliament too.
“My heartfelt thanks to Highcrest Academy for working so hard to make us all welcome for the benefit of every local secondary school.”
A replica Members’ Tea Room and public gallery was set up at the Hatters Lane academy to give the debate an authentic Parliamentary feel.
During the debates, teams took in turn to act as the Government and the Opposition as they sat across the hall from each other on the benches.
There was a table between the two teams with despatch boxes on it.
At the end of the debates, the teams filed out to vote before tellers tallied up the papers and then the Speaker announced the result.
Emma Bowden, Highcrest’s assistant headteacher, said: "The event was absolutely brilliant.
“There were 150 students and staff present, and the debates were based on the ones you see in the real House of Commons.
“It was all very robust but polite at the same time."
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